Sat, Dec 10, 2005 - Page 5 News List

China and the US discuss their `common challenges'


Two days of discussions between the US and China indicated the pair have common ground on contentious issues but they sometimes will use differing policies to reach mutual goals.

US officials emerged from the sessions seemingly convinced that the Chinese government has made a policy decision to exercise its emerging economic and political power as a "responsible stakeholder" in world affairs.

The phrase was used in a September speech by Robert Zoellick, the State Department's No. 2 official, that laid out US strategies in its future relationships with China.

Zoellick headed the US side in the talks that ended on Thursday. His counterpart for China was Dai Bingguo (戴秉國), China's executive vice foreign minister.

"During this week's dialogue we discussed how China could work with the US and others on challenges such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea," Zoellick said in a statement about the talks.

"Without always pursuing the same policies, we can still pursue the same policy goals with complementary approaches. We discussed our overlapping interests in fighting terrorism, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, building energy security and reducing the risks of pandemic disease."

Other US officials said Dai, in his first offering of the first session, responded to every statement in Zoellick's September speech, apparently eager to demonstrate its decision to be a major player in world affairs in concert with the US and others.

That harks to the "responsible stakeholder" idea, that China is developing such a huge stake in the coming century that its success will depend on its conduct.

"This concept has spurred a useful debate in China about its modern role in the world and, in particular, China's relations with the US," Zoellick said. "This strategic framework can help us identify mutual interests and guide our future cooperation with China."

The forum for the talks was the second in a "senior dialogue" series suggested to US President George W. Bush by Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). The first was in Beijing in August.

Zoellick's statement and comments by other US officials came close to effusive in their praise for the exchange.

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